Dyslexia in the Workplace

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Much focus is rightly put on dyslexia in children and at school. However, dyslexia is a life-long condition and thus there are implications for dealing with it in the workplace. Employers and employees both need to recognize the benefits of creating a work environment which is open to dealing with dyslexia.
For an employer, being sensitive to the needs of people with dyslexia can help them realize the strengths and skills of their staff, reduce stress and staff turnover, and improve motivation and productivity.

For an employee with dyslexia, an open and honest relationship with your employer will allow you to create an environment where you are poised to succeed, rather than struggle. Being honest can be as simple as knowing which accommodations or strategies you require to do your job. Knowing these will help your employer see your ability, rather than disability, when you're at work.

Here are some simple, yet effective, strategies for accommodating dyslexia in the workplace:

  • Break tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks
  • Keep to-do lists
  • Take regular breaks to maintain concentration
  • Always take the time to write things down, like phone conversations, as people say them. Most people will like this as it demonstrates attentiveness
  • Use colours and highlighters liberally: for files, boxes, trays and to mark details and organize complex documents 
  • Tape recorders and dictation machines can be used to help remember an important idea or when a meeting is happening at a break neck pace
  • Use word processors which can dictate speech and also read back what is written
  • Learn relaxation and stress reduction techniques to avoid the headaches and stress associated with excessive paperwork or work overload

These are just a few examples of strategies for coping with dyslexia at work. Depending on the job, and the essential tasks required, there are almost endless strategies for making each situation work if everyone involved is committed to finding a better way. 


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